Over the last couple months Bioware has gone from golden boy to internet whipping boy. We’ve seen the harassment of a Bioware employee, outcry over same sex relations, anger over day one DLC and now outcry to change the “Mass Effect 3” ending.
Currently the “Retake Mass Effect 3” online petition has put its efforts into donating at the current amount $53K to Child’s Play. A great gaming based charity so I’m happy that at least the movement is using a positive outlet to show their disappointment. Again this is infinitely better than harassment. Much like the online movement to get information on the development of “Half Life 3” by playing “Half Life 2” it’s good to see the internet using its power for good.
But the question still remains and they even state it that Bioware should have the right to give us the ending that they want. If we want games to be art should we allow them to let us down? If things are tailored to everyone who is angry about it do we get a vision that isn’t authentic to what the creators want? Should criticism and review be the proper way that we voice our praise or should developers learn to bend to their audience.
Currently I have yet to make to the ending so really I can’t judge I may join them on the streets soon enough but I wonder if much like a reviewer should stand by their opinion if they should stand by their ending. I love “Mass Effect” and I don’t want to grow to hate it over a bad ending. “Bioshock” didn’t have the best ending but I love the sum of its parts so is this ending something I’ll just have to compartmentalize to live with the rest of the trilogy. Not to say we can’t be critical. As consumers and critics we have every right to call developers on their shit but can we make them take it back? Should this be expected in this art form any more than we can expect Paul McCartney to apologize for Wings or the show Wings to apologize for Wings.
I wonder if Bioware because has built up so much bad blood over the last year between “Dragon Age 2” (which wasn’t great) to day one DLC and microtransactions that it makes them so easy to hate now. Is this just what happens when your favorite indie band starts writing pop songs and you refuse to like whatever they do based on the fact that they are now construed as sell outs. Bioware might be the Green Day of game publishers. They used to be punk rock and now they have broadway musicals. Right now the amount of hate is having the adverse effect on me. I’m finding myself more sympathetic as the hate piles on. They have given in to some gross business practices but I still like this kind of game a mediocre “Mass Effect” for me is still better than a lot of what comes out but I’ll admit this Mass Effect has been the one to suck me in the least. I won’t and no one else should be shy about saying that. There shouldn’t be sacred cows as much as there can’t be over entitled consumers.
I think gamers should learn to manage their expectations and think of how this could set precedents to come. Games are becoming more and more mainstream and we have to decide if we want they to still challenge and possibly anger us or be infinity focus grouped. Where would this end? We complain that we don’t get finished games and then we expect developers to go back and redo games.
We may have to pick and choose our battles but remember that by voting with our dollar if we hate a value proposition is our best way out. As I for one am not buying the DLC because I don’t find it necessary so should anymore mad at it. Understandably we are invested in this universe. But when employees are harassed or homophobia is spewed it can negate our argument. I would say to those giving to charity keep being positive with what you do. But let’s remember now we want art and not all art is good all the time.